How Christopher Columbus Created a New (Cosmic) Race

Why Latin Americans celebrate Columbus Day as the birthday of a new breed within the human family.

Columbus Day is now “contested,” as current terminology would have it. Some view with joy the anniversary of the navigator’s historic landing in part of the Bahamas. Others see a day to mark the beginning of oppression, enslavement, and genocide.

Both sides claim Catholic America as their home.

As a Latino Catholic, I prefer a third option — a Latin American version of Columbus Day as Día de la Raza, a day we celebrate the beginning of a “new breed” within the human family. José Vasconcelos, the Mexican philosopher, called it the Cosmic Breed.

The conflicting approaches to Columbus Day is not a trivial matter to be dismissed with a footnote that Columbus did not actually “discover” America. This is a fight over control of the symbols that make America. Did the Western Hemisphere’s continents become a “New World” because of Christopher Columbus or in spite of him? And is there another perspective?

Whatever Columbus’ intentions or mistakes, Latin America under Spain began to tolerate, legalize, and eventually encourage racial intermarriage.

Some hold up this Genovese sailor as the far-sighted free thinker who brought science to a benighted age that didn’t even realize the world is round. He carried Western civilization to the red-skinned savages scattered about in un-Christian and unproductive societies. In a Protestant nineteenth-century United States, Columbus was extolled for having transcended Catholic Spain and Europe when he had placed enterprise and science at the centerpiece of his vision. Thus, it has been argued, he constituted the noble “first” American, because the United States alone has followed in his legacy. Towns were named after him in celebration of such achievements. Not to be outdone in this generally Protestant enthusiasm, the Catholic answer to Masonic Lodges named themselves “the Knights of Columbus,” emphasizing his Catholicity.

The contrasting view of Columbus has emerged more recently. The Americas already were populated by peoples happily living in harmony with nature, it is said. Columbus brought genocidal epidemics, disastrous wars of conquest, and continuing oppression by creating colonial societies that based superiority on racial whiteness. The deaths of tens of millions of Native Americans and the senseless attacks of their cultures and religions were the fault of Christopher Columbus. Rather than a day of rejoicing and parades, the October holiday should be observed with mourning and funeral marches.

If you have an Italian Catholic as a friend, you can get a fuller explanation of the first vision of Columbus firsthand; if you know a Latino or Latina, turn to them for chapter and verse on the second interpretation of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea. If you have a half-Italian-half-Puerto Rican in your family, as I do, prepare for bewilderment.

History does not provide much solution to this confusion. Columbus was an enigmatic character, both skilled at the helm of his ships and inept as a governor of his discoveries. Moreover, suffering what appears to have been a nervous breakdown when his hair turned completely white almost overnight, his last writings add to the mystery. Was he a nut case with wildly distorted understandings or a saintly mystic of deep piety?

At any rate, the debate is about Columbus as a symbol, not as a historical figure.

I rest with the Latin American version of Columbus Day: Día de la Raza. We celebrate not so much the event as its result — a “new breed” within the human family. (“Raza” doesn’t mean “race” in quite the same way as in English.) Whatever Columbus’ intentions or mistakes, Latin America under Spain began to tolerate, legalize, and eventually encourage racial intermarriage. Centuries later, the Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos described us as La Raza Cósmica (the Cosmic Breed) because we have virtually all of the world’s skin colors in our demographic rainbow: white, black, red, and yellow.

Racial mixture is what we Latinos and Latinas celebrate on Columbus Day. As the Puerto Rican patriot Pedro Albizu Campos proclaimed, there is a distinctive Catholic pride in this holiday. Unlike so much of Protestant North America, where racial mixing was looked down upon, Catholic Latin America officially recognized the equality of races at the dawn of modern history.

I am happy to celebrate Columbus Day by thanking God for my Puerto Rican-Italian nephews and nieces. Let’s make it a day for the living, not for the dead.

  • themick

    Are not Italian-Americans in fact “Latin” actually the “original” Latin’s?Let not forget notwithstanding the past inhuman crimes committed in the Catholic Americas that Protestant America was no less cruel in the use of slavery and almost entirely succeeded in the extermination of indigenous peoples south of the 49th parallel.

  • ceflynline

    Columbus is more complicated than that. For instance, he discovered (in the sense of taking out of hiding) New Spain because he was a passable navigator addicted to an earth that more competent navigators knew was much larger than Columbus thought. the Portuguese didn’t sail west to get to Asia because they knew about how far away Asia really was, and didn’t want to make such a long open ocean voyage. They also didn’t think the middle trade winds were reliable enough, and they were the experts. Columbus used a size for the world, and a size for Asia, guessed at by Ptolemy to be much smaller that the figures used by the Portuguese. THAT is why when he found San Salvador he expected that he was in the vicinity of Japan. While Columbus did bring home from the New World quite a bit of gold and silver, the real treasures he brought home were tomatoes, beans, maize, and chocolate. His gold is long since dispersed, but the place of those foodstuffs in European cuisine is indisputably enriching to humanity in general. And while he devastated the populations of the new world, he couldn’t know why, and personally wished for another result. The Spanish Government, and especially the Spanish Catholic Church tried desperately to keep the Injuns (my word, but really quite a needed word. Not pejorative and designates the peoples present when Columbus arrived) alive, converted, and tranquil, thankful, and proud. Since Pasteur was three hundred years in the future, what could they know?And, while he did impoverish so many meso Americans, he enriched some immeasurably. The Lakota, Nez Perces, Shoshone, Kiowa, Cheyenne, and all the other Horse Injuns would have stayed subsistence farmers planting crops for buffalo to trample without Columbus. Columbus brought great disaster, but needed change, to the Americas, but it was all beyond his ken and outside his abilities to guide or control. Still, if you don’t think you owe anything to ole’ Chris, try pizza without tomato sauce, or eating melted butter and salt without the cob, or the pop. Your Hershey bar would have a noticeably metallic taste, since the wrapper would have nothing to wrap. And think of Coca Cola without the Coca or the Cola. Ham, beans, and potatoes isn’t the same as just plain ham, and saying that at least it could be Virginia Ham still requires the Virginia. Injuns do have a great beef, (which they didn’t have, exactly, except the Mandans, who hunted the close relative of the beef, the bison, until Columbus came. And the Dine didn’t have their descendants, the Navaho’s sheep, from Columbus time, or blankets, which some Dutchman taught them to weave. Some other Dutchman taught them silverworking.)about the mistreatment they recieved, but that was more Cortes, Pizzaro, Miles Standish, and good English Yeomen, than poor Chris, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, but in the end taken back to Spain in chains. So get out your bottle of Jack Daniels, (Injun corn, American Hardwoods to age it, Irish know how to brew it, and an unrelated French king to name it after, second hand, of course.) And raise a toast to the good things Chris brought about. Remember, for the moment, the horrible cost of that stuff, but then, the past being past, savor the here and now.

  • CCNL

    Ceflynline,Great observations!!!!

  • Enrique-I

    PERSIFLAGE AND OTHERS — My immediately previous post is appearing here even though I submitted it to the “Are Catholics Christians” forum, at which all of a sudden I’m being denied entry. I don’t understand what may be malfunctioning. If the problem is not corrected, this will be my last post at the WP. All the best.

  • coloradodog

    And what did Columbus and the Spanish and Italian Catholic invasion bring to the New World? Submission, perpetual religious guilt, caste discrimination, exploitation, disease and elitist European corruption.One only need to spend some time with the Mayans, Chamulas or Zoques in Mexico to understand how their honest, gentle natures contrast with that of their Catholic conquerors.

  • persiflage

    A good post by Ceflynline and ColoradoDog as regards the good, the bad, and the ugly that was visited upon the native populations from the tip of the Arctic Circle to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, and all points in between – by Italian and Spanish factions sponsored fully sponsored by the Catholic Church – and their spiritual descendents. Long after Columbus, the protestant Pilgrams brought their own lethal doses of syphillus, small pox, and influenza to the native populations of the Northeast – thus devastating that population. For the most part, only the First Americans remember the the massive slaughter of indigenous populations in North America as part of the government sanctioned land grab that brought government troops down on the heads of the many different native tribal groups – see the concept of Manifest Destiny for the thinking behind all of this. In fairness, this was probably more a Protestant-inpired movement, given the preeminence of Protestants in our early frontier populations (and the populations of the USA in general in those days). While the battle of the Little Big Horn was famous for being Custer’s Last Stand, he managed to kill a ton of indians before that particularly stupid attempt to whip a few thousand indians with less than 200 men. Generally it didn’t turn out so well for the indians! Not to say that the natives weren’t mean and nasty to each other, because of course they were. I guess they do have the Spanish to thank for giving them horses in the first place, and messrs Winchester, Remington and Colt for providing whatever firepower they happened to have beyond bows, arrows, and tomahawks….. This says nothing of the devastation wrought by the Spanish on the populations of what is now Mexico, Central and South America – that’s a whole other story, but equally inspired from start to finish by the Catholic Church. _________________________Enrique – I didn’t have a problem logging into the other thread we’ve been using, but will respond here in brief:1) While no one knows the nature of the Absolute, it seems to be experienced in different ways by different people if self-reports can be believed. ‘Merging’ is probably a term that describes a feeling that occurs during ‘union’ with the Absolute. This term is not used by Buddhist practitioners as you probably know – here the immediate perception of the Absolute becomes ‘knowing one’s own nature as that Absolute’ or the One Mind of Zen. So Christian mystics ‘merge’ and non-Christians ‘apprehend’ – but the differences are only in the terms themselves, in my mind. It is a kind of communication because it is noetic (confers knowledge) but ‘illumination’ transcends the verbal realm altogether. 2) Is the Absolute conscious of Itself? In my mind yes, but in a way incomprehensible to ordinary humans – the best I can come up with the indifferentiated Pure Awareness idea of Buddhism as the fundamental living essence of existence…….and sometimes experienced and reported as ‘cosmic consciousness’. 3) Mind (awareness) without boundries, distinctions and characteristics, or personal (ego) identity. Buddhists refer to it as the Clear Light – and our own deepest nature. Personhood and individual identities only seem to be real and distinct, as do the infinity of objects in the cosmos. We seem to be experiencing and interacting with all the elements of life as distinct selves – Christians say this is true, and Buddhists say it is both true and untrue! We can’t get into religious metaphysics in any detail – but we’ve already done that earlier. I believe that monotheists represent this Source as God, and attribute both Personhood and Being, whereas non-theists (as distinct from atheists) do not.4) Can anything be created or destroyed? Not accordingto Einstein, who viewed matter and energy as interchangeable but in some sense ‘eternally existing’. This is curious for a man that abstained from the findings of quantum physics – he believed them to be incomplete and therefore not accurate….but they have been so far. And curiously, no one actually knows what ‘energy’ really is in it’s essence – just as quantum mechanics reduces physical reality to ‘waves and particles’ – the ultimate source of all things being speculated as the ‘quantum vacuum’ from which all things arise and return. Neither real nor unreal, but infinite all the same. Something doesn’t really come from nothing after all, but comes instead from the quantum vacuum of infinite probability…..does this sound metaphysical? Is this God or the Clear Light? Can we perceive a divinity that is completely Other than ourselves in reality? That is the question that religion seems to ask. 5) As to uniqueness, a property of individual objects or entities, my fallback position is inspired by Buddhist thought – uniqueness and individuality is apparent, but not fundamentally real, just as the individul perceptions that govern human life (all life) are based on an apparently solid but essentially unreal world of the mind (which is the same as Mind). Buddhism sees all things arising from moment to moment as being eternally interconnected and interdependent – one thing cannot exist without all things existing (and all the while changing back and forth from objects to ‘energy’ and back again, reappearing in different forms). Thus the Oneness appears as the many….the nondualism of Buddhism contrasted with the dualism of Christianity – humans vs God (the Trinity) as the eternal Other.6) Do the gospels preclude reincarnation? Well, this idea was declared as heretical early in Church history, but was nevertheless a commonly held belief before being declared heresy. The Catholic idea of Purgagory is both interesting and complicated. And one of many points of conflict in Catholic doctrine. A soul that is not sin-free at the moment of death must be purified in the ‘fires’ of Purgatory before being fit for Heaven (even assuming the soul has been saveed). This includes most believers that are anywhere short of sainthood (the Communion of Saints being another interesting but separate idea). With the soul already on the way to Heaven, why does the Church find it necessary to proclaim the doctrine of the final resurrection on Judgement Day, where the transfigured (but formerly dead and buried) body of the believer is reunited with the soul? This was exactly why cremation was prohibited by the Church. This was necessary in order to be consistent with the ultimate paradigm of Christianity – the bodily resurrection of Christ and bodily Assention in Heaven – all saved souls will have this same experience on Judgement Day. Pretty complicated theology, all in all. These are all difficult questions that go to the heart of religion and mysticism in general. Yes, I’m familiar with Ian Stevenson’s work on reincarnation, mainly among children. I believe he’s currently at the University of Virginia but did much of his work at the University of South Carolina.

  • Farnaz2

    The doctrine of pura sangre (pure blood) was at the heart of the Spanish blood fest. The Spaniards, btw., in their writings of the period referred to themselves as christians (small c). Columbus, in his third letter bemoaned the devastation. This is the same doctrine the christians used to justify the Spanish Inquisition of Isabella the Catholic. This Inquisition was separate from that run by the Catholic Church, but was closely associated with it, headed by a priest, run by priests and lay clergy. Arguably, it made Spain the first totalitarian state. It has been theorized that since all the adventurers knew was torture and racism, most could not have been expected to behave differently from the way they did.The Church did exhort the christians to curb their barbarity toward the natives (but not toward the Jews or Muslims), in a couple of letters, largely through the efforts of Casas (see below), but the christians didn’t wish to be bothered and so that was the end of that. The Church was evidently busy with other things in Europe.See Columbus’s third letter, Bartolomeo de las Casas, and Cabeza de Vaca on the christian genocide of the “Indies.”

  • Enrique-I

    CENSORSHIP OF CATHOLICS, CHRISTIANS OR HISPANICS BY THE WASHINGTON POST?………………………………….PERSIFLAGE, THOMASBAUM, PAUL C., CATHOLICS, CHRISTIANS AND ALL OTHERSIt now begins to seem more likely than not that I am the victim of censorship by the Washington Post.I had been posting in a lengthy discussion (several days) between Persiflage, Thomasbaum and myself in the “Are Catholics Christians” forum (please take a look). Suddenly last night I was not able to post on said forum. I am still not able even though Persiflage claims that he is (read his post below).What does this mean? I am a Christian, raised Catholic, and Hispanic and arguing in favor of Christianity. Persiflage has been arguing mostly against Catholicsm and Christianity and is not hispanic? Persiflage, as I asked before, are you sure you don’t work for the WP? So what might all this mean? This is my last post until the Washington Post stops censoring me on any forum. If the WP has reasons to censor me they should explain them publicly. Otherwise, if they do not correct this problem immediately, one can only presume discrimination against Catholics or Christians or Hispanics, or some or all of the foregoing. This is outrageous and I certainly hope that the rest of you do not remain indifferent regardless of your faith, ethnicity ot ideological convictions.

  • persiflage

    Enrique – No, I don’t work for the Washington Post and I really think the problems you’re experiencing are technical, rather than intentional by the WP. And after all, this is a Catholic blog by an Hispanic blogger, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo. I don’t believe censorship is occurring. You are posting on this particular thread without difficulty. I will try a test post on the previous thread that we were last using. Having posted on this blog for quite awhile under different names, I can say that many people have had similar posting difficulties in the past and the problem appeared to be technical in every case. In fact, the reason we have registration now is because of uncontrollable spamming – largely by one poster that rendered threads unusable – but could not be controlled by the blog moderators. PS. I’ve never seen anything in your postings that would warrant any kind of censorship, to say the least.PPS. I would rather believe that I’m giving alternate views, rather than opposing views!

  • persiflage

    Enrique -Maybe now I have to eat my own words! My test post on the other thread would either – I have to assume that old threads are eventually blocked from being used. We did get alot of mileage out of that thread however!!

  • persiflage

    ….should have read – test post would not go through either. That thread is apparently dead.

  • persiflage

    Enrique – very insulting finale for a person that engaged me in a discussion, based on good faith.It’s doubtful that you’ve ever had a discussion with a person more forthcoming than myself. I never argued with your beliefs – only stated my own point of view by comparison, as you requested. While I thought we had established a certain rapport, all I apparently did was waste a few precious hours engaging you in a pointless discussion.And really, I could care less what the WP does with or to their threads. You’re attitude is frankly mysterious….better take a closer look.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Enrique-IPosts are sometimes closed and no more posters then are allowed.WaPo is dominated by atheists, sad but true. These are–to a man and woman–extremely hostile to traditional religions, especially Catholicism.As one Catholic to another, I would hope you keep posting as there are very few of the faithful here.All the best,

  • sparrow4

    I’ve noticed several times that Mr. stevens-Arroyo has a disturbing habit of exalting catholicism at the expense of other faiths. To wit in this post: “As the Puerto Rican patriot Pedro Albizu Campos proclaimed, there is a distinctive Catholic pride in this holiday. Unlike so much of Protestant North America where racial mixing was looked down upon, Catholic Latin America officially recognized the equality of races at the dawn of modern history”Hardly an accurate portrayal of the reason the catholic church may have not been so averse to intermarriage. It had everything to do with conversion to catholicism, not equality. I also have to say this whole idea of Columbus day being all about Italians or Hispanics is a little off putting. Nothing like using something else to drive wedges between Americans. I find that attitude neither ethical, admirable or christian.

  • Enrique-I

    Thank you Mary C.unningham for the perspective and encouragement. After checking the beginning and ending dates on other discussions for Stevens Arroyo posts none lasted more than 14 days. I was denied entry just after midnight of the 14th going on to the 15th. The maximum span for a discussion appears to be coded to be for 14 days.Thus there was nothing intentionally discriminatory done by the Washington Post. Please accept my apology.I extend my apology no less to you Persiflage and hope you will know how to receive it. I suppose my racism radar needs to be recalibrated –perhaps it received too much stimuli the last few days. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue discussing in the future. I thought our discussion was productive except for what happened today.

  • DwightHCollins

    The spaniards discovered land and discovered people they could conquer. and yes, invaders genetically spewed their dna, done today in africa, and thats why over 75% of LatinAmerica has roots in spain and other european countries and why almost everyone speaks spanish…

  • bentz7

    A previous post cited: “Mayans, Chamulas or Zoques in Mexico to understand how their honest, gentle natures contrast with that of their Catholic conquerors.”Mayans routinely tortured and mutilated their enemies, played sport with human skulls and killed the losing team, performed ritual human sacrifice.Such a legacy is recalled in the torture, mutilation, and killing of Mexicans by Mexicans in contemporary Mexican culture.And no wonder that Nazis and sympathizers found a safe haven in Mexico.

  • sparrow4

    bent27- that was Argentina, and quite a few found safe havens here in this country as well.Both you and dwighthcollins exhibit an appalling lack of education, and knowledge of history while acting as the poster boys for sheer ignorance. No one will deny the Indian Civilizations did not have their share of terrible practices, but in terms of size and degree they certainly can’t hold a candle to white, Christian history and practice. I’m amazed at the idea you can justify what was done to Native populations in the name of Christianity and “civilization.”And, collins, a trip to a few reservations may convince you of the fact that quite a few Native Americans do still speak their own language- they simply don’t speak it to you.

  • washpost3

    Make no mistake about it – the author is a sinister traitor who should be tried for treason.

  • ravitchn

    Certainly the Spanish Catholic conquest of the Americas result in less destruction of the native peoples than the British Protestant effort in North America. But still, many have argued that the Spanish Catholic trait of machismo and passivity in the face of authority, when married to the native Indian passivity and authoritarianiswm has led to the most prevalent flaw of Latin American politicla culture: failure of democracy and social responsibility. Elites in Latin America are more arrogant than almost anywhere else, more exploitative, and more incorrigible. The people of Latin America are passive victims and remain that no matter what regime comes into power.

  • Farnaz2

    Bishop Casas on Hispanola. This isn’t a good translation. The original rarely uses the word “Spaniards.” The Spaniards, all Catholics, of course, referred to themselves as “christians” as did the Catholic Church and the monarchs. The best pulished translation of Casas’ account: “A Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies” is Norton’s. Johns Hopkins has one as well, but IMO,not as accurate. For those fluent in modern Spanish, this will not prove difficult, although composed during the Renaissance. Casas goes conquest by conquest in his accounts of the blood fest.As I mentioned earlier, the Spanish Inquisition begun by Isabella the Catholic, as she is still known among Spanish historians was well underway by the time Casas wrote. Pura Sangre (pure blood), a doctrine applied to Jews, Muslims, also applied to the Indians. The Spanish Inquisition, separate from the Church inquisition, was run by priests and lay clergy. The Spaniards had a long history of torture up to this point. They emptied out what is now called Domincan Republic and replaced the natives with African slaves. See also Columbus’s last letter to the sovereigns, Cabeza de Vaca, Etc. These people with their “pure blood” killed tens of millions if not hundreds of millions.Bartolomeo de las Casas, “A Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies?1. Of Hispaniola

  • pikaart

    Another layer of complexity is the ambiguity of the term “latino,” a concept invented and promoted by the French as justification for their intervention in the Mexican republic. In general I think a more fitting cultural symbol(s), but more specific to chicanos/as, would be the Cortes/Malinche duality.

  • CCNL

    We learn from history and move on!!!

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL We learn from history and move on!!!

  • CCNL

    The start of human history-As per National Geographic’s Genographic project:”Adam” is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time. Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive. It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity.”i.e. Columbus was our brother.

  • tslats

    Another kiss immigrants butt article brought to you on behalf of the Catholic Church in America .. a church so in need of money and patrons that it will say or do anything to keep the pews filled. All this hype over a silly holiday while the governments of most of the countries our south of border immigrants come from continue to do little for their populations. If the Catholic Church wanted to do some good, they’d let such folks write articles denigrating THOSE countries .. and maybe encourage them to go home and change things instead of coming here and telling us how screwed up we are.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Well, let’s see, tslats:Do you agree that the Amerindians of North America have a “right to exist”? Do you agree that they were inhabitants of the continent *prior* to the arrival of the Europeans? The Amerindians of the US were wiped out by germs and the few that were left, like the Cherokee,were ethnically cleansed. (Even though the Cherokee had converted to Christianity!) Amerindians who were citizens of the Spanish Empire survived–and btw. the western half of the US was *part* of that empire or its descendant until 1848. If you are Mexican the odds are 9 to 1 that you are part Amerindian. The odds are that some of your ancestral homelands are now part of the United States.If you are American the odds are 49 to 1 *against* being Amerindian. The odds are that *your* ancestral homelands are in Russia or the British isles, the European continent, or Africa.The descendants of the Amerindians certainly have as much of a *right* to live as immigrants in the US as Iranian-Jewish-athiest Farnaz or Irish-atheist-former European CCNL. I would say more rights, but I would say that.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Bet if the Latinos were atheists you wouldn’t mind, would you tslats? You just don’t like the fact they’re Catholic. But they’ve been Catholic a lot longer than your people have been atheist. Why should they give it up to please the WaPo anti-Catholics who post here?

  • castro714

    There is no absolute certainty that Cristóbal Colón was born in Genoa. Besides, he was as much a Spaniard as any other, regardless of where he was born. If the heads of State commissioned him to go to India, at a very high cost to the Spanish Crown, he was considered, de facto, a Spanish citizen.

  • sparrow4

    Nice- we now have 2 people who families were immigrants at some point in their history (cunningham is not a Native American name) fighting over who has a better right to live here. Amerindians were not only decimated by germs, they were decimated by forced conversions and genocide by the US Army. Let’s not blame “atheists” for that- you want to set the record straight about immigrants and American Indians then be up front and factual. As for atheists- religious people always love to throw that out as though atheists cannot have any redeeming qualities and I’m calling bunk on it. By ignoring the role the catholic church has played in history and in the decimation of Native Americans, you’ve completely undermined your own argument and lost credibility.tslats’ post is just offensive and paranoid. Unless he is Native American, he has no leg to stand on either,

  • Mary_Cunningham

    The Western Hemisphere was settled by the two great empires of modern times: the Spanish and the British. Since Americans and Britons have written most of the history, they tend to derogate Spain and promote Britain. But the Spanish considered Amerindians as members of the Spanish Empire, under their rule the Amerindians survived. In contrast, the British and, especially their descendents, the Americans, ethnically cleansed the native people, and, finally, confined the survivors to reservations. Additionally American settlers more or less confiscated Mexican land: Texas, then California, finally all Mexican holdings north of the Rio Grande. A fascinating book on the two empires is John Elliott’s “Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830 ” published in paperback in 2006. This will be all from me.

  • usapdx

    ILLEGAL ALLIANS ARE ILLEGAL IN THIS COUNTRY FROM THE FIRST STEP BY U.S. LAW. ANY CHURCH THAT WANTS TO SPEAK ON THIS POLITIAL SUBECT MUST BY U.S. IRA LAW PAY THEIR TAX OTHER WISE THE GIVEN CHURCH IS LIEING WHEN FILEING TAX EXAMPT,STEALING WHEN NOT PAYING THEIR JUST TAX ACCOUNT THEY ARE NO LONGER TAX EXAMPT BY IMPROPERLY SPEAKING OUT ON A POLITICAL SUBJECT. THE CHURCH’S INTEREST BOILS DOWN IN FILLING THE PEWS SO THAT THE BASKETS ARE FILLED. THE EMPLOYEERS OF ILLEGALS ARE THE REAL ROOT OF THE PROBLEM WHERE THEY ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW JUST LIKE THE CHURCHES FOR ECONMIC MEANS. FOR SHORT, CHURCH SHOULD COMPLY WITH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AS THEY PREACH.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Well, Sparrow, I’m Irish and live in Britain, in London, so I have no axe to grind as to who should live in the US. Celts have always lived in the British isles, so I am more or less where I should be.Cunningham is a Scots name, however. It was ‘imported’ into the part of Ireland I am from by British census takers who could not spell the original Irish name. I’ve always thought that Americans like Andrew Jackson treated the Amerindians in a similar fashion to the British treatment of the native Irish. After all, Ireland was the first country to be subject to British colonial rule, and a terrible subjugation it was, terrible famines and loss of life during the original 17th c. settlement and ethnic cleansing, followed by the Famine in the 19th.The Spanish treated their colonial subjects quite differently. We’d have done a lot better if we’d been occupied by Spain!

  • tslats

    Mary, nice in theory but not living in the real world. Plus, my point went unanswered. The Catholic Church in America pissed away so much money on the child molestation matters that they need to find it wherever they can now. They’re using immigrants in that quest. As for your ultimate point ‘immigrants are humans too’? Sure .. and I wish we had an immigration policy that served the good of all nations, ours included, involved in our immigration crisis. But the point I was making is that I wish the Catholic Church would do more to kick the governments where our immigrants come from than to use the Church here to screw around with a government that simply outshines these other governments. Plus, our country didn’t have a system that systemically abused the weakest of the flock. No reason to make the situation worse by using immigrants.

  • sparrow4

    “The Spanish treated their colonial subjects quite differently. We’d have done a lot better if we’d been occupied by Spain!”I think you would need to speak to an Aztec, a Mayan Indian, an Incan and any number of South American native Americans who were destroyed by the Spanish. sorry, Mary- no one gets a pass on this one. Especially not the Spanish. “Since Americans and Britons have written most of the history, they tend to derogate Spain and promote Britain. “I think if you read up on your world history, you would find Spain not so high up on the “nice to other people” list. Native Americans survived in spite of the Spanish, not because of them, and in spite of Britain. Never make the mistake of thinking Native Americans did not fight back or are incapable of survival without some supposed beneficence on the part of the Spanish. You may also want to remember that Ferdinand and Isabel, who send Columbus off in his little ships, were enthusiastic supporters of the Spanish Inquisition. So if you can believe that the Spanish, who at the time were enthusiastically torturing and killing Moors, Jews and suspected Protestants, were suddenly a kinder, gentler conqueror I have a bridge I can sell you, and a big hunk of green cheese.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    tslatsWell, tslats, I don’t much care whether America does right by its immigrants and Amerindians or wrong. I don’t particularly like WaPo’s ‘Catholic’ America anyway, mostly because–dominated by atheists–it is full of anti-Catholic rants and anti-Catholic prejudice! So when you find an authentic Catholic–you pounce! Wow! Fresh game for hungry predators. Anyway, can’t reason someone out of something he hasn’t reasoned himself into so I’ll decline to rebut your paedophile-scandal-bankrupted the Church-hence it-supports-Latino-immigration conspiracy theory. It’s pretty stupid but, hey!, atheists can be stupid too. Like Enrique-1 said: Adios.

  • sparrow4

    wow- after that rant Mary, I certainly hope you mean it this time. I don’t think much of tslats either but the two of you are pretty much on a par.

  • paulc2

    Mary Cunningham,As for those that have the view that the Catholic Church seeks immigration to put people in the pews. Well, the Catholic Church is universal. Those people are in the pews, whether they stay in Mexico (or wherever else they live) or move to the US, so its no net gain for the Catholic Church to have them immigrate. The reason the church favors a more liberal immigration policy is simply a matter of human kindness and dignity toward those that are seeking a better life. Those that oppose immigration do so because they don’t want to share what they have with others (in terms of having to support the poor) or simply because of bigotry. Remember, though, that America became the financial titan it is through the growth driven by immigration. My grandparents were immigrants from Canada and I’ll be most US citizens on this board have immigrants in their not too distant past.

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL:Contra Nietsche, IMO, we do learn some things from history, do make some progress, albeit not enough.Each generation must confront and tackle moral/ethical dilemmas anew. See Nietsche. Open a small ecumenical window in your mind and let in a bit of light.N went mad, wasn’t always rational beforehand, but when he was right, he was very, very right.

  • Enrique-I

    Hispanic christians are often the victims of racism in the United States (to put it mildly). It comes from all sides, right, left, and even from other Christians. When as a Christian I see another Christian unjustly treat me or other Hispanics in ways described by non-Christians, the temptation of course is to disassociate ourselves from these others to value our Hispanic identity over our Christian identity. When Christians (Hispanic or not) do this, we sin. Racism makes the temptation constant.It is faith in the living ressurected Christ that holds us back from succumbing to the temptation. The same Christ present in the Holy Eucharist that Catholics keep in a tabernacle.Isn’t that something?It’s hardly surprising to see how US atheists try to describe us to ourselves and even to inform us of our own history. Isn’t that how Edward Said claimed that cultural imnperialism works?

  • Farnaz2

    Mary Cunningham:You write: The descendants of the Amerindians certainly have as much of a *right* to live as immigrants in the US as Iranian-Jewish-athiest Farnaz or Irish-atheist-former European CCNL. I would say more rights, but I would say that.The Protestants under Queen Elizabeth killed more than one hundred thousand Irish Catholic men, women, and children. The history of the anti-Catholic laws in England is hideous. Many still consider Irish Catholics to be of an inferior race.All of this in no way addresses the Testimony of Bartolomea de las Casas, Cabeza de Vaca, Columbus, etc., on the Spanish Catholic genocide of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples.I posted Casas below. He wrote in Latin, originally, but there are contemporaneious Spanish translations, quite good. The Norton, in English, is best. Th Inquisition, with its pure sangre (pure blood) doctrine authorized much of the killing in the “Indies.” The Catholics were out for gold and outnumbered. The Spanish Inquisition inaugurated by Isabella the Catholic, as she is still called by Spanish historians, involved torture of Jews and MUslims, the massive deportation of Jews, euphemistically known as the “expulsion.” Although separate from the Church Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition was run by priests and lay clergy. It has been argued that a combination of greed, fear, and socialization was responsible for the behavior of men like Cortez.As for calling people names, that changes nothing, Mary. Come on, you know better than that.Bishop Casas wanted to bear witness. He wanted to reform Spain. He did not succeed. The INquisition was not over and done with until the nineteenth century.I posted Casas below. Why not read him.

  • sparrow4

    I apologize if this turns out to be a double post. My computer is a little hinky today.First of all, atheist is not a dirty word (and no- I am not one). that’s the biggest mistake believers make- assuming atheists are evil.second- Mary is slinging insults right along with everyone else. And getting angry when the true history of the Church is brought up. Both she and Mt. Stevens-Arroyo seem intent on rewriting the history of the Spanish in America and like it or not, they are positing a lie. It has nothing to do with Catholicism, and everything to do with the people who claim to practice it. As for Mr. stevens-arroyo’s comment:”Catholic Latin America officially recognized the equality of races at the dawn of modern history. ” Any student of World or American history and the treatment of indigenous peoples will find this statement laughably ignorant. I don’t care if you want to extol your heritage- there is much to be proud of., but putting on blinders and trying to make the Spanish or Catholic Church in the New World as the harbingers of racial equality and enlightened treatment is like trying to put lipstick on a pig.except for Native Americans, everyone in this country is an immigrant or of immigrant stock. whether or not we have a right to be here is a moot point (but my personal opinion is very much like farnaz2 on this),. The point is we are, but for all the glorious flag waving and institution of democracy, we are making a grave error if we forget the price exacted from the indigenous people of this continent. “Catholic bashing” is not the problem here.

  • Farnaz2

    Enrique:You write:”It’s hardly surprising to see how US atheists try to describe us to ourselves and even to inform us of our own history. Isn’t that how Edward Said claimed that cultural imnperialism works?”Actually, the interest in men like Cortes, and witnesses such as Casas, Cabeza de Vaca, and later Columbus was generated largely by Hispanic American academics and civil rights activists. IMO, this isn’t the way imperialism works.As a Jew, I would say that appropriating our sacred text, the “Tanakh,” and then “explaining it to us,” torturing and genociding us throughout history, including during the Inquisition, of course, is imperialism. That would be cultural, material, and bloodthirsty.

  • Enrique-I

    Farnaz2 — I just read your post to Mary Cunningham and want a few clarifications:1. You claim that the Norton translation is ‘best’ but don’t explain why. Why?2. As I understand it you are not trying to say that the Spaniards were somehow less brutal than the protestants who settled the US or those that appropriated half of Mexico, right? 3. Nor are you implying that switching to atheism would lessen man’s propensity to brutalize other humans? For example you wouldn’t propose that Castro’s switch from Catholicsm to atheistic marxism liberated him and Cubans, right (or wrong…)?

  • Enrique-I

    Farnaz2 – My last post is in response to your next to last post. I was writing while you were posting your last one. So I will now meditate on your last one.

  • Farnaz2

    “Farnaz2 — I just read your post to Mary Cunningham and want a few clarifications:”1. You claim that the Norton translation is ‘best’ but don’t explain why. Why?Farnaz: I’m referring to the Norton English translation. It seems to be closest to the original, whereas, at least to me, the Johns Hopkins tries to substitute language less objectionable than Casas’. It’s interesting that so many call Casas “plain-speaking,” etc. I don’t think so. I think he’s a brilliant ironist. He was no saint as far as Jews are concerned, btw., but better than most of the period. When it came to the indigenous peoples, he did everything one could have asked of a human being, including admit his own culpability, for participating in the encomienda horror early on.2. As I understand it you are not trying to say that the Spaniards were somehow less brutal than the protestants who settled the US or those that appropriated half of Mexico, right? Farnaz:What can I say? The Protestants did some horrible things. They gave the Indians blankets infected with small pox deliberately, for example. Bradford, “Of Plymouth Plantation,” one of the self-described “Pilgrims” used typology to celebrate the burning alive of trapped INdians he watched die. 3. Nor are you implying that switching to atheism would lessen man’s propensity to brutalize other humans? For example you wouldn’t propose that Castro’s switch from Catholicsm to atheistic marxism liberated him and Cubans, right (or wrong…)?Farnaz: IMO, isms are dangerous, all of them, potentially so. I don’t know what will stop us from our savagery. I wish to God, I did.

  • Farnaz2

    Enrique:I have some expertise, limited, in the subject of the “New World.” No, the Spaniards as you call them, the “christians” (sic), as they called themselves, were not less brutal than the English Protestants.Were the Spanish Catholics more brutal than the English Protestants? The Spaniards killed many more indiginous people. It took the English awhile to wake up and smell the exploitation waiting for them in the “New World.” By then, the Spaniards had already upset the whole European economy by flooding it with gold. The island upon which Haiti and Dominican Republic now stand had, if I’m not mistaken, already been genocided by the Spaniards, with African slaves brought in as “subsitutes.”What concerns me now is the plight of AmerIndians today. They are considered among the poorest of developing nations in the world. They earn less than 6,000 dollars per annum, are dying like flies, from drug abuse, etc. They are here in front of us, still fighting for their rights by treaty while America ignores them. I’ve blogged on this many times, but we as a nation have been asleep, I’m told, since the Vietnam era.Farnaz

  • Farnaz2

    Enrique:Sorry, but I don’t understand your points. Casas was ambiguous on Africans. Once, years ago I found something that conflicted with the notion that he endorsed the slavery of African Americans. If I can find it, I’ll post it. As for my opinion on the best English translation, of course, it’s only my opinion that I offered. And? So? Point?I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say I dismiss the plight of American Indians. Did you read my post? Not only did I not dismiss the genocide against them, I wrote of the current exploitation, and my concerns about it.I’ve also posted again and again on the theft of Texas, California, and much of the Southwest, a point MC has just taken up.Further, as I’ve also mentioned I’ve worked with AmerIndians in North Dakota. What have you done?Thank you for letting me know that Hispanics are not all the same. Otherwise, I could have been in the dark on this. MY point is that Hispanic activists in this country, pace Said, worked to bring the genocide to light. If you want to keep the handiwork of the Spanish Catholics and English Protestants a secret, you’re a bit late.Let me lead your arrogant self to the window. Look at the sun. Jews are not all the same, either. Your European, South American, African, MIddle Eastern, Carribbean, etc., Jews are somewhat different from each other.The TANAKH is the sacred text of Judaism. Islam has explained to you that Jesus Christ was not the son of God, nor was he killed. It has also told you that if you believe that he was the son of God, you will go to hell.However, Islam stopped short of expropriating your “New” (sic) Testament. As I have posted on Patel’s thread, there is no time in history when a Jew would have equated blood with wine, bread with flesh. This is a Greek thing. Consider the laws of the Kashrut. See the Tanakh. Jews would have abominated such a thing. They would do so today.It is simply not Judaic, never was. Some Christians have suggested that our JC may have been Greek (assuming he existed).I turned Said back atcha and will close with the same gesture. Expropriating another people’s text, genociding them through history, is imperialism. That would be cultural, material, and bloodthirsty.I expected more from you, Enrique. I expected civility. My bad.Farnaz

  • Farnaz2

    Enrique-Let me be clear on this. No Jew, even if you found one underground in the Antarctic, not now, not ever, would have gone along with either transubstantiation or constubstantiation, or anything remotely like it, even symbolically.Read the Catholic theologian Rosemary Ruether, Faith and Fratricide, if you haven’t already done so. Cultural imperialism. Catholicism colonized the Tanakh. IMO this was the inaugural racism of the west, materialized by Constantine. The Vatican can condemn its own replacement ideology as much as it wishes to, but it ends typology once and for all, its imperialism AND essentialism will continue.

  • Farnaz2

    Enrique:Yes it is true, the indigenous amazonians are facing cultural and slow physical genocide. If the world’s richest consumers reconsidered the world’s needs, this might be prevented.It was AMERICAN INDIANS to whom I referred when I mentioned genocide, failed treaty obligations, etc., not the indigenous Amazonians. But since you mention the Amazonians, what has Brazil been doing about them? With its race issues? Gender issues? “Peasant” issues? You imply you’re up on that nation….Next time, I’d hold off a bit, Charlemagne. Make sure a battle has been scheduled before you set out for the field.

  • CCNL

    We learn much by example e.g.”The Jericho Massacre:The people raised the war cry, the trumpets sounded. When the people heard the sound of the trumpet, they raised a mighty war cry and the wall collapsed then and there. At once the people stormed the city, each man going straight forward; and the captured the city. They enforced the curse of destruction on everyone in the city; men and women, young and old, including the oxen, the sheep, and the donkeys, slaughtering them all. — Joshua 6:20-21 “

  • observer12

    CCNL Bagel,WaPo wouldn’t let me post the full text of the most famous concordat. Ask your mommie to help you find it.Much more to come. NT justifications for genocide written by saints. Texts by Martin Luther.READ ALL ABOUT IT! READ ALL ABOUT IT! BROUGHT TO YOU INDIRECTLY BY CCNL!Meanwhile, note that according to CCNL, Joshua fought the Battle of Jericho and was victorious, aided by God, of course.

  • paulc2

    Farnaz: However, you also state: Jews are not all the same, either. Your European, South American, African, MIddle Eastern, Carribbean, etc., Jews are somewhat different from each other.You can not legitimately state that NO Jew would ever do anything. There are just too many indiviudal motivations to state it so definitively. Surely you recognize, for instance, that over time, many Jews have converted to Chrisianity. That in itself tells you that the eucharistic mysteries are not abhorent to all Jews.

  • sparrow4

    Farnaz2 is correct. “transubstantiation or constubstantiation” are not within the faith of Jews.Jews who believe in the eucharist are by definition christian. The eucharist is not abhorrent to us, we simply do not believe in it. Despite all our differences in background and culture, certain things hold for all Jews. We do not believe in Jesus as the son of G-d, we do not believe in the eucharist. Those who do are converts to Christianity and no longer Jews by religion. this is not to negate their culture and family background- that is something no one can convert from. But they are no longer Jewish.

  • Enrique-I

    There is no way for me to verify that those who represent themselves as Jews in this forum are indeed Jews. For all I know they may be intentionally misrepresenting Jews to stir up inter-religious conflict. Accordingly, I will not address any further comments to them. I stand by what I said in my last post. I believe it was civil and expressed with sufficient clarity; other readers can judge. I see the attempt to ridicule it as an evasive tactic. Further, To claim something without providing plausible reasons (other than that it’s one´s opinion) is what is pointless, at least to me.For a better understanding of how Jews and Christians might improve communications I suggest Levinas and Buber; both are gifts from God through Jews.

  • paulc2

    observer12:

  • sparrow4

    enrique- I am not assuming your remarks were addressed to me, however I am a Jew. I won’t insult your intelligence by claiming I never post in a provocative manner (I would be hooted down by Farnaz2 on that!). I just get the overall impression the two of you are speaking at each other and for the most part you are agreeing on many things. Sometimes it’s a little difficult for me to understand quite what you’re saying because I think perhaps you are bi-lingual and sometimes things come out a bit unclear? Farnaz2 has stated very clearly his distaste for racism and the mistreatment of the American Indian. and in view of many things he has posted on other threads, I truly do not believe he is biased against Hispanics either. But, and I can’t speak for him, what I do think is a problem here is the glossing over of the role of the Spanish and the catholic Church in America. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo sets this up when he wrote: “Unlike so much of Protestant North America where racial mixing was looked down upon, Catholic Latin America officially recognized the equality of races at the dawn of modern history.”I find that statement disingenuous at best. It is a denial of history and of the gross mistreatment of Native peoples. this is no pass for the Protestants either, or anyone else. It’s a disservice to everyone to gloss over the history, or worse, revise it. And when people claim its atheists bashing the Catholic church, that’s not only untrue, but unfair. If we don’t face the truth, the good and the bad, how will we ever be better?

  • Enrique-I

    Sparrow4 — Sorry, but I cannot verify that you are Jewish so I can’t and won’t address you as if you were.Please specify what it is that you don’t understand about what I’ve written.

  • sparrow4

    enrique- Just as I cannot verify you are Hispanic. I am Jewish- you can choose to believe it or not. nor have I insulted you in any way so I cannot explain why you think I would lie? If you say you are, I do the courtesy of assuming you are telling the truth. I expect the same from you.as for your mangled english, let me give you several examples:”Cultural imperialism is more subtle and Machiavellic” (the proper word is “Machiavellian”)”When as a Christian I see another Christian unjustly treat me or other Hispanics in ways described by non-Christians, the temptation of course is to disassociate ourselves from these others to value our Hispanic identity over our Christian identity. When Christians (Hispanic or not) do this, we sin.” (So mangled as to be unreadable. )My purpose in mentioning your somewhat unclear writing was to say perhaps Farnaz2 misunderstood some of what you were saying and perhaps allow you to communicate- something you claim to believe in. And finally you wrote: “To claim something without providing plausible reasons (other than that it’s one´s opinion) is what is pointless, at least to me.” If anyone is made out to be liar, by this, your own statement it’s you. And so in the future, since you won’t address me as a Jew, I simply cannot address you as anything other than a hypocrite.

  • observer12

    Enrique-“For a better understanding of how Jews and Christians might improve communications I suggest Levinas and Buber; both are gifts from God through Jews.”Do you now? I’m sure Farnaz will be delighted to hear your recommendation, which is important because…?She is an authority on Levinas and has posted a lot about him. I’m sure she’ll be happy to discuss him with you. She prefers Franz Rosenzweig to Buber. Of course, you’re familiar with Rosenzwieg. I can’t wait to read your thoughts.Sorry, “Charlemagne.” Farnaz is right all the way through in her posts to you. Not unusual for her. Try learning netiquette.BTW., Sparrow4, Farnaz is a woman.

  • sparrow4

    Ooooops. I missed that press release- my apologies Farnaz, I didn’t know.